Simplygon takes 3D models in a number of formats, and reduces the volume of data used to describe them by taking out some of the detail — somewhat like reducing the size of a JPEG image file by increasing the level of compression while leaving the resolution unchanged.
That means the models can be rendered more rapidly or with less powerful hardware, something that will help Microsoft with the “3D for everyone” vision it outlined last October at the launch of Windows 10 Creators Update.
The company is pushing hard into the markets for virtual reality, with a U.S.$300 consumer VR headset for PCs due out as early as March, and augmented reality, where it is seeking to build an ecosystem around Hololens, its enterprise-oriented stand-alone AR headset.
3D models, whether for video games, architectural rendering, or viewing in augmented or virtual reality, are typically composed of many adjoining flat surfaces, or polygons. The more polygons that are used, the better the model is able to represent complex curved surfaces — but the more memory and processing power it takes to render, or draw on the screen.
Simplygon works best with rendering engines that use a similar density of polygons throughout, simplifying the model to describe flatter parts with fewer polygons, while retaining more polygons in more complex areas, so that they don’t look blocky.
Using this technique, the company says it can reduce the number of polygons used in a model by up to 90 percent, while still retaining the essential details and shape.
For Kudo Tsunoda, corporate vice president for next-gen experiences in Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, the acquisition will make it easier for Windows users to capture, create, and share 3D models.
“It builds on and extends our aspirations to empower a new wave of creativity with the Windows 10 Creators Update, Paint 3D and our online creator community at Remix3D.com,” he said in a post on Microsoft’s blog announcing the deal.
Simplygon was developed by 10-year-old Donya Labs, based in Linköping, Sweden. CEO Matt Connors, founder and CTO Ulrik Lindahl and co-founder Koshi Hamedi will join Microsoft following the acquisition, according to the companies’ websites. They did not provide information about the terms of the deal.
The biggest market for Simplygon is in 3D game design, where it was used by the developer of the game Submerge to reduce the size of models designed for PCs and consoles when the game was ported to iOS.
Apple has decided that the reason that people are not buying its tablets is because they don’t have enough over-priced versions available.
To fix this problem Apple is planning to release three more tablets which contain all the same features you can find in cheaper Chinese Tablets at half the price.
According to Digitimes Apple will release three new tablets for 2017, a 9.7-inch iPad, a 10.5-inch iPad, and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The 9.7-inch model expected to enter mass production in the first quarter followed by the other two in the second.
It is odd really as Apple was thought to want to kill off the 9.7 inch pad and replace it with the 10.5-inch iPad. However not it seems that it wants to make the 9.7-inch iPad become an entry-level device. It can then flog these to corrupt or stupid school managers who don’t know that they can save their schools cash by going elsewhere .
There will be a few supply changes too. Apple will also procure components from its secondary suppliers for its new 9.7-inch iPad and Korea-based Seoul Semiconductor will supply LED for the device instead of the existing 9.7-inch iPad’s supplier Nichia.
The 10.5-inch iPad and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will get an A10X processor, but that is pretty much anyone knows for now. Our guess is that it will look pretty much like a tablet, have a similar price tag and be even more ignored than the current batch.
Microsoft and tools firm Simplygon have today announced that Simplygon is joining the Redmond, Washington-based software giant. Kudo Tsunoda, Corporate Vice President, Next Gen Experiences, Windows and Devices Group, announced the purchase today on the official Microsoft blog.
“Simplygon’s technology and talent will strengthen our position in 3D creation, making it easier to capture, create and share in 3D. It builds on and extends our aspirations to empower a new wave of creativity with the Windows 10 Creators Update, Paint 3D and our online creator community at Remix3D.com,” Tsunoda said.
Simplygon CEO Matt Connors, Founder & CTO Ulrik Lindahl, and Co-Founder Koshi Hamedi added in a statement: “Throughout our journey, we’ve been laser focused on helping developers push the boundaries of 3D. From our early days delivering advanced level-of-detail solutions, to the adoption of Simplygon SDK by most leading AAA game development studios, and our more recent expansion into enterprise AR/VR, Simplygon has made automatic 3D data-optimization
“Our next challenge is 3D For Everyone, the ultimate accessibility! We’re thrilled to join forces with Microsoft to make this happen.”
Simplygon was founded in 2006 by Swedish firm Donya Labs AB and its tools have been used to streamline assets and scene optimization in numerous AAA titles, including The Witcher 3, Forza Horizon, Hellblade, Paragon, Everest VR, Eve Valkyrie, Conan Exiles and PlayStation VR experiences as well.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed by Microsoft.
Qualcomm coerced several phone manufacturers into accepting unfavorable technology licensing terms while giving Apple a break in exchange for exclusivity, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has charged.
The company used its dominance in baseband processors, which manage cellular communication in mobile devices, to force vendors to pay elevated royalties for Qualcomm technologies, the FTC charged in a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court.
At the same time, Qualcomm gave Apple favorable terms so it could supply the baseband chips for all iPhones from 2011 to 2016, according to the FTC. Among other things, in 2007 it got Apple to agree not to use WiMax, the original 4G system used on Sprint’s network, in any iPhones, the complaint said. WiMax was promoted by Intel, Qualcomm’s archrival.
Qualcomm’s actions hurt competition and effectively imposed a tax on some products that was passed on to consumers, the FTC said. It’s seeking a court order to undo and prevent the company’s allegedly anticompetitive practices.
“Qualcomm has never withheld or threatened to withhold chip supply in order to obtain agreement to unfair or unreasonable licensing terms,” the statement said. The company said the FTC rushed out the complaint before the new presidential administration takes office on Friday. Only three of the five seats on the commission are filled, and member Maureen Ohlhausen dissented from the complaint.
Qualcomm has a vast portfolio of mobile technology patents, and licensing them is a big part of its business in addition to selling chips. Its licensing practices have come under fire before. Last month, South Korea’s antitrust agency fined the company $853 million for allegedly violating that country’s competition laws.
By threatening to cut off phone makers’ supplies of baseband chips, Qualcomm got them to accept royalties and other license terms they wouldn’t otherwise have accepted, the FTC alleged. This weakened other baseband chip makers and raised costs for consumers, it said.
In addition, the company has refused to license its patented technology to other chip makers even when those technologies were essential to industry standards, the FTC said. Standards groups commonly require patent holders to license anything that’s part of a standard on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.
In her dissent, Commissioner Ohlhausen said the complaint never alleges that Qualcomm charged more than reasonable royalties because the commission lacked the evidence to say that.
Its new report, “The 5G Economy” looks at the potential economic and social impact of 5G around the world. The study was conducted jointly by research firms IHS Markit, PSB and leading economist Haas School of Business’s, and principal executive officer of the Berkeley Research Group (BRG). Professor David Teece. The 5G Economy includes an economic impact study and opinion research about the expectations for 5G among business and technology leaders carried out by PSB.
The combined findings of the study show how 5G will profoundly affect the global economy and that business decision makers in technology and other industries overwhelmingly believe in the transformational nature of 5G.
Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said that the researchers confirmed our strong belief that 5G will be a fundamental game changer.
“We have been hard at work helping create some of the key technologies and applications that will make 5G a reality, pushing the boundaries of LTE, collaborating with industry leaders, and spearheading the critical research behind the next-generation global wireless standard.”
The study indicates that 5G will catapult mobile into the exclusive realm of General Purpose Technologies, like electricity and the automobile, that provide the foundation for massive innovation, give rise to new industries and benefit entire economies.
This will happen as 5G advances mobile from a set of technologies connecting people to people and information to a unified fabric connecting people to everything.
Dr. Teece said he had spent many years studying the impact of general purposes technologies, and it’s clear that 5G will propel mobile into that category, assuring the technology’s long-term impact on society and continued growth for decades.
According to the study, in 2035, when 5G’s full economic benefit should be realized across the globe, a broad range of industries – from retail to education, transportation to entertainment, and everything in between – could produce up to $12.3 trillion worth of goods and services enabled by 5G.
The 5G value chain will generate up to $3.5 trillion in revenue in 2035, supporting as many as 22 million jobs. Over time, 5G will boost real global GDP growth by $3 trillion dollars cumulatively from 2020 to 2035, roughly the equivalent of adding an economy the size of India to the world in today’s dollars.
Complementing the economic study, polling research done by PSB confirms that business decision makers and opinion leaders around the globe expect 5G to bring widespread benefits for society and the economy overall, enabling new products and services, increasing productivity and allowing for new industries to emerge. Over 90 percent of the more than 3,500 respondents agreed that 5G will enable new products, services and use cases that have not been invented yet.
It is looking fairly certain that Windows 10’s second major update will be released in April.
The update codenamed Redstone 2 “The Empire Strikes Back” release date has been leaked by Microsoft’s chums Dell and Fitbit. Dell and Fitbit both posted the update news on their forums. Vole has yet to confirm them itself.
Dell made the announcement earlier, and effectively squashed rumors that the new update would be happening in March.
Fitbit said: “We’re excited to announce that Fitbit will be introducing support for tracker notifications (Call, SMS, Calendar and third party apps) and Connected GPS for all Windows users on the Windows 10 Creators Update coming in April.”
It looks like the final version could be 1704, which also tells us the release date. The first two digits representing the year and the other two pointing to the month and in this case the fourth month of 2017. Insiders will be the first to receive the Creators Update.
It is possible that the launch will coincide with the release of the Surface Pro 5 and the Surface Book 2 which are both expected around that time.
Chinese search engine Baidu Inc announced that it has launched an augmented reality (AR) lab in Beijing as part of a $200 million effort to revitalize the company’s shrinking profits with cutting edge technology.
The lab, which currently employs 55 people, will initially aim to drive revenue through AR marketing, though will later explore healthcare and education.
“AR marketing is taking off,” Andrew Ng, the chief scientist overseeing Baidu’s artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and deep learning projects, told Reuters.
Popularised in 2016 by Nintendo Co Ltd’s Pokemon Go game, augmented reality involves rendering virtual images over real life settings viewed on a smartphone, headset or other device. In marketing, the software can be used to animate a product or a branded space.
Baidu’s AR launch comes as the company gears up to report full-year earnings next month. It has forecast a revenue drop of around 4.6 percent as it grapples with the aftermath of new government curbs on medical advertising. Those curbs have slashed into the profits of its core search business and saw ad customers drop 16 percent in the quarter ended in September.
The company injected $200 million into its AI and AR unit in September in an effort to kick start new growth, followed by the announcement of a $3 billion investment fund announced in October focusing on mid-to-late stage startups.
The company in a statement said it is currently working with AR in China with Yum! Brands Inc’s KFC, BMW and L’Oreal SA’s Lancome among other brands, and has demonstrated a small range of high-end applications.
Baidu began working on the technology two years ago, and is working on integrating it with AI to produce visuals capable of interacting with real-time surroundings, unlike current popular AR games.
“It’s working quite well now, but it’s clear that it could be better,” said Ng. “I’m quite optimistic.”
AR technology is still going through a regulatory teething phase in China. While Pokemon Go is yet to launch there, location-based AR concepts have sprung up, drawing the ire of regulators who have refused to license some services over security concerns.
According to Ng, Baidu is yet to run into the same issues.
“I feel like the abilities for AR have risen up in China faster than the Western world may be aware,” said Ng.
The rules took effect Monday, in a country where domestic third-party app stores — not from Apple or Google — are serving billions of downloads to Android smartphones. Chinese internet companies such as Baidu, Tencent and a host of smaller, shadier local app stores have been feeding the demand, at a time when Google has largely pulled out of the market.
The government, however, has problems with the proliferation of app stores and the lack of industry oversight, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on Friday. Some app stores have been offering products that violate users’ rights, contain security vulnerabilities or spread “illegal information,” it said.
The new rules intend to force the stores to better audit their products. Cyberspace Administration officials will keep records on the app stores and investigate those that fail to register or which are found falsifying information.
However, in some cases, apps have provided one way for users to circumvent the strict controls. That happened with The New York Times, whose main website was blocked in the country in 2012.
Despite the censorship, the company’s news app was offered on Apple’s app store until China ordered its takedown earlier this month.
Third-party app stores in China have also been known to spread malware. Last year, a mobile Trojan likely sourced from the country managed to infect millions of devices across China, India and Indonesia by imitating Android apps.
The country has over 650 million mobile internet users, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. The huge user base has made its app stores some of the biggest in the world.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company held its most recent investors conference on January 12th, during which company officials said that it has not ruled out the possibility of building a facility in the US as a response to recent nationalistic pleas to restore American manufacturing jobs.
During the investors conference, company chairman Morris Chang said that fabricating chips in the US “may not necessarily be a good thing,” though the option is still under preliminary consideration. He indicated that the foundry is already helping to create jobs in the US by allowing integrated device manufacturers to succeed on a global scale and expand their operations.
TSMC also disclosed that revenues from customers based in North America accounted for 65 percent of its total wafer revenues in 2016. It projects revenues to stay about 60 percent this year, says Chang.
A shift back to US manufacturing
In late November, US president-elect Donald Trump stated that one of his biggest achievements would be to restore the decades-long decline in US manufacturing employment by relocating jobs from the self-reinforcing “supply chain cluster” of Asian manufacturing firms back to US shores. During his campaign, he declared the promise of a 35 percent tariff levied against products including the iPhone that are manufactured overseas, signaling an incentive for moving jobs back into the hands of blue collar American service occupations.
According to the most recent December 2016 jobs report from Glassdoor.com, TSMC pays its principal engineers a monthly salary of about NT$65,833 ($2,084), while senior engineers get NT$57,783 ($1,829), process engineers get NT$45,014 ($1,425), regular engineers get NT$44,517 ($1,408), and interns get NT$26,250 ($831).
TSMC is not the only foundry considering a facility in the US. Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Company) released a statement to IBTimes in December confirming its exploration of expanding in the US. Back in November 2012, Foxconn had previously gone on record and denied reports considering plans to establish a plant in the US near Detroit or Los Angeles. The manufacturer of an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronic devices said it had already established several facilities in the US and did not have plans to expand at the time.
Then there are companies such as Pegatron, which have declined to formulate such a migration plan due to cost concerns. A 35 percent tariff increase would likely be passed on to consumers, raising the $649 base price of an iPhone to around $876.
AMD indicated that the official Ryzen launch date will be sometime before March.
While they haven’t specifically given an exact date, a talk to be given by AMD at the annual Game Developer Conference (GDC) says the following: “Join AMD Game Engineering team members for an introduction to the recently-launched AMD Ryzen CPU followed by advanced optimisation topics.”
Obviously for this to be the subject of the talk Ryzen would have had to be recently launched which means that it is probably timed for that week.
GDC event runs from 27 February to 3 March and has not been put on the schedule yet and it could appear any day during the event.
AMD has not disclosed an exact date either, launching the new set of Ryzen CPUs right in the middle of both GDC and Mobile World Congress would be insane as the news would end up being buried under other GDC and smartphone announcements.
It would make sense to do it the week before all that, if not two.
Robots should be granted rights as “electronic persons,” members of the European Parliament recommended — but not until the machines are all fitted with “kill” switches to shut them down in an emergency.
Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee wants the European Commission to propose legislation that will settle a number of ethical and liability issues in the field of robotics — including who is to blame when an autonomous vehicle is involved in a collision.
Granting the more sophisticated autonomous robots some kind of electronic personhood could settle issues of who is responsible for their actions, the committee suggested. More urgent than the question of robot rights, though, is setting up an obligatory insurance scheme that would pay the victims of a self-driving car if it caused an accident in the European Union.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also want an EU agency to advise on the technical, ethical, and regulatory issues around robotics, and a voluntary ethical code of conduct for those who design and work with robots. That code should include a requirement that designers put some kind of “kill” switch in their robots so that they can be shut down in an emergency.
That urgency, the MEPs said, is not so much because autonomous robots are likely to run amok any time soon, but rather that if the EU doesn’t move first, it will end up having to follow rules set by other countries.
Intriguingly, tax figures among the issues the MEPs want the Commission to take into consideration. For robots wanting the same rights as people, it could be a case of no representation without taxation.
The full Parliament will vote on the committee’s recommendation next month, but even if it agrees, the Commission is under no obligation to follow such a request for legislation.
The new pricing applies only to owners who purchase their electric vehicles after this Sunday. Those who bought vehicles before Jan. 15 will continue to receive free charging, the company said.
The company this week announced that its charging costs will vary from state to state and depend on which charging “tier” a driver is using. Tier 1 pricing, which applies to cars charging at or below 60 kW per minute, will cost half as much as cars using Tier 2 charging, which applies to cars charging above 60 kW per minute. In New York, Tier 2 charging will cost 20 cents a minute and in California, it will cost 19 cents.
Cars using fast charging or Tier 2 charging can attain about a half a full vehicle charge in 30 minutes — enough to travel up to 170 miles.
Tesla announced both kilowatt hour and by-minute pricing for its Supercharger stations, and said a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles (about 380 miles) would cost about $15. (A cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York — about 2,800 miles — would run around $120 in charging fees.)
Tier 1 pricing also applies anytime your vehicle is sharing Supercharger power with another car. Supercharger pricing information can be viewed on the vehicle’s 17-in. touchscreen.
Tesla Model S and Model X cars ordered after Jan. 15 will receive 400 kWh (kilowatt-hour) of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) annually on the anniversary of their delivery.
“We carefully considered current Supercharger usage and found that 400 kWh covers the annual long-distance driving needs of the majority of our owners,” Tesla said in a blog. The company didn’t mention whether buyers of the Model 3 EV, due out in mid-2018, would also receive an annual free charging credit.
The Model 3 will be Tesla’s most affordable EV, with a starting price of about $35,000, and was originally slated to ship at the end of this year. Preorders for it have topped 400,000.
In North America, Tesla Supercharging pricing is fixed within each state or province. Internationally, pricing is fixed within each country, Tesla said.
When fully charged, the 85 kWh Model S sedan has a range of just over 300 miles, depending on road conditions and the speed at which it’s driven, according to Tesla.
“Where possible, owners are billed per kWh (kilowatt-hour), which is the most fair and simple method. In other areas, we bill for the service per minute,” the company explained on its website.
The fees for charging could provide Tesla with as much as $175 million in revenue just in this first year, according to Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research for Global Equities Research.
MediaTek, the fabless semiconductor company from Taiwan that provides SoCs for HDTVs, Blu-ray players and wireless products, saw its revenues jump by 29.2 percent year-over-year to a record high of $8.6 billion (¥$275.51 billion), according to the latest industry reports.
Deemed one of the fastest growing chip companies in 2016, MediaTek’s upswing in performance last year is attributed to a larger share of the worldwide smartphone SoC market, along with higher sales in local China and Taiwan markets. In Q4 2016, revenues totaled $2.18 billion (¥68.68 billion) which is down 12.4 percent over the previous quarter, but still falls within the company’s projection of $2.11 and $2.31 billion (¥66.6 to 72.9 billion).
In Q3 2016, revenues totaled $2.49 billion (¥78.4 billion), an increase of 8.1 percent over Q2 and a 37.6 percent increase over the previous year. Net profits also rose to $248.4 million (¥7.83 billion) in Q3, an increase of 18.8 percent over the previous quarter but down 1.6 percent over the previous year.
Going forward into 2017, company officials now want to shift its focus from increasing market share to improving gross margins and profitability. This will include an effort to market its high-end Helio X30 and X35 mobile processors more effectively to compete against the likes of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 830 and 835 and Samsung’s Exynos 8895, as all three companies are now using ARM cores with 10-nanometer designs.
MediaTek MT5597 supports Dolby Vision and HLG
The Taiwanese chip designer was the first to develop an 4K Ultra HD-capable SoC for Android TVs with the introduction of the MT5595 for Android TV 5.0 back at CES 2015. It followed up a year later with the MT5996 for Android TV 6.0, another world’s first featuring four 64-bit CPU cores based on the Cortex A53 design.
Now in 2017, the company is releasing its third-generation Ultra HD SoC for Android TV 7.0, the MT5597. This chip also features a quad-core Cortex A53 design but now includes support for Dolby Vision HDR and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), the standard expected to be used in UHD television broadcasts when providers are ready to roll out HDR terrestrial and satellite services.
The drones, dubbed Perdix, operate as a swarm and are not individually pre-programmed. Instead, they act as a collective organism with one distributed brain for decision-making, the DOD said in a statement on Monday.
“Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team,” says William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office of the DOD.
The drones are meant to be controlled in much the same manner as a coach would guide a sports team. The operator orders a broad objective, and the drones communally decide how best to execute the plan.
The latest test, initially documented on “60 Minutes,” took place at China Lake, California, in October. There were 103 mini remote-controlled vehicles launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets.
Prior tests have also taken place in Alaska and Edwards Air Force Base in southern California.
The DOD says Perdix is in its sixth generation, with a seventh-generation model featuring more advanced autonomy in the works.
Notebooks, which had been written off by the Tame Apple Press after Steve Jobs showed off his tablets, are now back.
Beancounters working for Deloitte have found that the sales of slates are expected to be down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to last year and there will probably be 165 million units leaving the shops.
This is a third less than the total number of slates shifted in 2014 when 230 million tablets were sold.
PC and laptops however are expected to stay at the same level as last year, and Deloitte has observed that the kids of today don’t want tablets any more. They either want a phablet, or a notebook.
Phablets were the thing that Steve Jobs told the world they did not want and yet it turned out they did. It might have been the reason he was telling us that was because he knew that they would kill off his tablet dream.
Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte, commented: “There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”
IDC’s figures from last summer showed a big slump in tablet shipments, but also found that detachable sales were improving. Most analysts think that hybrid 2-in-1s will represent a fifth of all PCs by the year 2020.